Keeping with the fermented foods theme from the last post, I have been playing around lately with different flavourings for my kombucha and came up with this little Christmassy number. I was a little unsure how this would turn out but the results were delicious and even scored itself the thumbs up from B who usually is highly skeptical of the weird liquid-y “globby things” I keep stored on the kitchen shelves.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made by brewing tea and sugar and then adding a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) which ferments the sugar and turns it into healthy bacteria. I try to drink a glass of kombucha every morning – usually with some fresh lemon squeezed in. It makes for a tasty little morning tonic and the associated health benefits are great (you can read more about that here and here). Kombucha is very easy to brew at home once you manage to score yourself a SCOBY – they cannot be made or grown from scratch, so you will need to find someone who has one spare (I have a heap if anyone in Hobart needs one!) At a very basic level, you make up a sugar tea (black or green), add a little premade kombucha (usually left over from a previous batch) as well as the SCOBY, and leave to ferment for 7 – 10 days, or longer depending on the temperature inside your house and how you want the kombucha to taste.
After the initial fermentation, the kombucha tea is strained, after which you can either drink it straight away, or do a second fermentation, whereby you add additional flavourings such as purees fruits, juices, or herbs. This second fermentation works to remove more sugar from the tea, develop the flavour, and also creates a slightly fizzy end product.
For the flavourings here I’ve used similar spices here to what you would use for gingerbread – cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, plus fresh ginger and some orange juice and rind. This flavours the kombucha beautifully – it actually tasted a little like a spiced cider. It needs to sit on the counter top for a few days with the spices in it, after which you can strain it and move to the fridge to chill. It should get a slight fizz to it during the second fermentation, however if you want to enjoy it as a sparkling alternative to alcohol this Christmas season, you could also top it with a little sparkling water before serving.
- 500ml freshly made kombucha
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 5 cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
- 3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- ¼ tsp orange rind
- 2 thin slices ginger
- Add the spices, ginger, orange rind and juice, plus the freshly brewed kombucha, to a 750ml jar, and stir to combine.
- Place the lid on and seal, and then leave 1 - 5 days on the counter-top out of direct sunlight. Taste the kombucha after a day or two to see if it tastes good to you - if you would like a more developed taste leave a few days longer.
- Once the kombucha tastes ready, strain the spices and rind, and add the liquid to a clean glass jar. Place in the fridge to chill, and then enjoy.